Chernobyl Why does radiation taste like metal?

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Summary
Why does radiation taste like metal?
Why do high levels of radiation taste like metal?
 

.Scott

Homework Helper
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If you can taste the radiation itself (alpha, beta, or gamma radiation), quickly let someone know what it tastes like - because you are not long for this world.

Radioactive fall out is often in the form of strontium, zirconium, molybdenum, and other metals. So they would taste like metals.

Cancer treatment to the mouth will damage taste buds and make many foods - especially meats, taste metalic.
https://www.rogelcancercenter.org/support/symptoms-and-side-effects/cancer-nutrition-services/managing-eating-problems/taste

https://www.greaterregional.org/side-effects-of-radiation-therapy-to-the-mouth.aspx
Radiation therapy to the mouth, and in particular to the taste buds on the tongue, will affect your taste. You may begin to experience this side effect one to two weeks after treatment has started. You will commonly notice that foods will lack distinct tastes and occasionally notice a metallic taste in your mouth. After treatment has been completed, your taste buds will gradually return to normal.
 
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Just to sum what @.Scott said, ionizing radiation (EM with sufficiently high energy) as well as particle radiation (neutrons, electrons etc for example) cause changes in the atomic structure of elements which in turn cause chemical changes in elements , gasses , solids , liquids.
Human body consists of alot of water and minerals, in saliva for example, so a strong radiation field affects these substances,

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187538921500231X
there are many studies like this link where for example oxygen is irradiated and turns into ozone and ozone has a distinct smell , so in Chernobyl probably there was alot more going on than just metallic taste in mouth, the reported blueish light from the reactor building in the night sky was air being irradiated by the extreme radiation fields.


I131 commonly known as Radioactive Iodine can also alter taste in one's mouth as reported clinically by patients with thyroid cancer who are taking Iodine therapy.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715040

PS. it is kind of interesting that for a healthy person radioactive Iodine absorbs in the thyroid and can cause cancer in many cases while for those who have thyroid cancer the same radioactive Iodine can be used to cure the disease.
 

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